Waxman’s one of those Jews who looks like a Mexican, making him perfect for success in Los Angeles politics. It might be an evolutionary adaptation, as when flowers have petals that look like beavers. After all, many New York Jews look like Puerto Ricans. Could be Jews are genetically programmed to mimic the predominant Latin population wherever they reside. Probably this started during the Roman occupation of the Holy Land, when it was useful not to look too conspicuous to the original Latins. This was likely also the beginning of the overlapping characteristics which undergirded the close Jewish/Italian relationship in 20th-century New York.

Then again, I may have been programmed by cartoons and old television comedy to see Mexicans as looking (and sounding) like Mel Blanc. Perhaps Mexicans don’t look like Jews at all. If that’s true, though, why are there Jews who look like Puerto Ricans?

Wait. Maybe it isn’t Jews who look like Puerto Ricans, maybe it’s Puerto Ricans who look like Jews.

Like, you know, Hector Elizondo.


Eliot Engel, my colleague in the New York congressional caucus, gave me 75 bucks to hold his seat in the chamber while he was interviewed on MSNBC a couple hours ago, being palpably desperate to maintain his traditional position as ridiculous sycophant in front during the president’s State of the Union address tonight. As a veteran of the first iPhone line (Soho store), I was the ideal choice, though it galls that I was paid more to wait for the iPhone than the Prez.

Pre-“State” hubbub has, I don’t mind telling you, provided me with much-needed distraction from the pain of swelling above my mouth, in the spot where that Tea Party guy hit me a week or so ago. The swelling is beginning to look a lot like a small ball (which, due to the texture of my skin, is more Pennsy Pinky than Spaldeen).

I guess I should go see a doctor. I woulda gone today, but Eliot NEEDED me. Meantime, between the waiting and the swelling, I was bored, so while I seat-filled for Engel, I recorded and uploaded my response to the president’s address.

Why would I record a response to a president of my own party? And why would I do it in advance?

Well, aside from the fact that, in my opinion, there should be no “official” response from anyone (since the chief executive’s address is in his capacity as president, not partisan), it’s pretty clear this year’s four “official” Republican responses were written in advance as well. So, what exactly are they in response to? I decided that if various Republicans could pre-craft responses to something they hadn’t heard yet, I should trump them with a response both written AND disseminated before the event.

Perhaps I should have called my address a “PREsponse.” If it goes real well, maybe next year I’ll be asked to do the “Rand Paul Response.”

It can’t ALWAYS be delivered by Paul.

My assistant, Jim, woke me on Thursday. I like being able to say, “My assistant, Jim.” Makes me feel like Marlin Perkins.

I’d been sleeping – leaning back in my big, swivel chair with my feet on the desk – in the office again. No, I haven’t fired Bridgett already (that’s the girl I hired in New York). Jim is my Washington assistant. Bridgett hired him. She’s hired all my staff.

Jim pointed out that at the end of the day I would no longer be the newest member of Congress, the woman replacing Ed Markey would have that honor. And I had yet to make even the most banal of general speeches to the empty chamber (and a C-Span camera). This, he said, was why people didn’t know me.

He further announced that it was likely our last day in session for the year, that we would pass the budget compromise and go home, thus, if I wanted to say something to the non-assembled during my first calendar year in the body, it would have to be by the end of the day. And he would have to arrange it…NOW.

I told him to set it up.

I didn’t want to say something just for the sake of saying it. This of course, is at odds with the way I’ve lived my life, but a representative, in my opinion, should talk when he means it and mean it when he talks. How’s that for naive idealism?

I mean, it’s not like I’m president or something and I have to dance around the truth to protect the fate of the world or some kidnapped insurance guy in Szfazi (a made-up country). I can talk or not talk and if I’m gonna talk, I’m gonna talk the talk. I watched Speaker Boehner last week slamming Democratic initiatives I damn well know he’s not against, with the fervor (and perhaps sincerity) of an evangelist. And I thought, how can someone do that, simply say what he’s expected to, whether he means it or not, regardless of larger consequences? Gotta admit, though, I’ve been impressed by the man this week. Maybe I’ll buy him a gallon of Gunky Orange for Christmas.

“Jim! Where does Boehner buy his gunk?”

Oh yeah, the Park Slope crowd is more my speed than Tish James’ assemblage could ever have been. For me, attending a de Blasio party is like a springy walk down the gentrified street, augmented with speeches, banners and drinks. Even my goo-coated sense of insufficiency is the same as in my day-to-day realm, though this time informed by my uncomfortable encounter with the man himself. Yes, the de Blasio woman is my kind of woman, the kind I would settle down with if she’d let me. The only impediment is the goo. But that goo comes from the mind, so a quick trip to the bar is apt to dam its flow.

“Andrew Lederer!”

Too late. I turn, sober au goo.

“It’s nice to see you.” (Can’t remember her name.)

“I’m surprised. You didn’t look too happy last time.”

“Yeah, I did consider deeming you dead to me, but then I remembered I may have been unctuous or over-attentive or even undesirable the time before and maybe your seemingly inexplicable hostility was due to that. Your attitude being perhaps my fault, I let you live, albeit in a rarely visited recess of my mind. You missed out, though. If you hadn’t cut me off that night, you might have learned…”

“Enough with the words already.”

“We are not made for each other.”

“Clearly. But how have you been? What have you been doing?”

“You don’t know? That explains your continued hostility. I’d think you would…”

“Stop putting so many words to every thought.”

“You might be less judgmental and a bit more obsequious if you knew I was now a (wait for it) congressman.